Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - February 9, 2009
Former Pres. Royals Sports Television Network, LLC & Sr. VP, Business Operations, KC Royals
We've all heard this before, "All men are created equal."Why then do some become leaders? Does the word "leader" conjure up descriptive phrases like, "leading after the first quarter...", "the leader in the clubhouse at the moment is...", "the leader going into the bell lap is...", "going into the locker room at the half, the leader is?." Always out front. Is being a leader someone who has to be the front-runner?
By the end of 2006 and into 2007, Mark Gorris was completing his 6th and what would be his final year supporting the team's young leader, Dan Glass, and helping him better guide the business operations of the Kansas City Royals. Mark is not the first to serve in this kind of "leadership" role nor will he be the last. Kevin Uhlich, a highly experienced front office expert in major league baseball, in fact followed Mark. While President of the Columbus Crew, Jamey Rootes, now President of the Houston Texans, honed his team general management skills under the tutelage of John Borozzi, a seasoned veteran of running indoor MISL teams. Andy Dolich, former President of Business Operations of the Memphis Grizzlies, is passing along his knowledge of running a professional sports franchise's business operations to Jed York, the new San Francisco 49ers President.
Jedi fans, "Don't these men..er...men-tors... kind of remind you of Yoda?"
The Kansas City Royals from Mark's arrival in 2001 went through some "galactic" renovations from improving the communication between departments, launching popular marketing campaigns and broadcast initiatives which, in turn, created a regional marketing focus that produced greater revenues, plus winning a game changing public vote on the ultimate in renovation ? a physical transformation of the baseball stadium.
Prior to joining the Royals, Mark served in an all-encompassing mentor type role at MLB's Commissioner's Office in New York as Senior Vice President, Club Relations for four years. After leaving that job and joining the Royals, Mark and I connected as I sought his guidance in helping me to help the teams to launch TeamWork Online's employment recruiting system into Major League Baseball Clubs. Mark provided me the path to convince many of the clubs to join in. "The Force was with me."
Yoda would say, "Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice."
I can imagine Mark has a few pieces of wisdom he's learned and hopes to pass along to his next Jedi leader-in-training. Could it sound something like this:
- Oozing talent within a sports franchise is. The key is to be searching for and nurturing the staff at all levels (the budding future stars are there and want to be challenged). Mark has always been grateful that one of his mentors, Mark Sauer, a former A-B and multiple sports executive, found and nurtured him.
- Integrity and credibility essential are, absent the soul without is.
- Substitute there is not for communicating personally. It took Mark many years to learn that while one always wants to be close to the boss, as he or she always has a relevant opinion, the front line, often lowest paid folks, know your customers the best, so their opinions are equally, if not more, relevant.
- Fluid and inclusive one must stay; a good vision leadership with starts.
- Measuring money success is not; quality and quantity of relationships with family, friends and business associates success shall be.
Many of us are or have been apprentices. As we age, we should all strive to become the master.
- Buffy Filippell
"Mark is the epitome of someone who is always thinking about the organization first before himself; he has great leadership and teamwork skills and gets everyone involved in the process of the organization."
--Allard Baird Former Vice President/General Manager, Kansas City Royals, now Assistant to General Manager, Boston Red Sox
What I do...
Mark was responsible for developing a regional television network that ultimately handsomely leveraged the team's future with Fox and oversaw all of the business operations which included strategic planning, marketing, sales, finance, stadium operations and public relations, community relations, and customer service.
HOW I GOT HERE...
KANSAS CITY ROYALS; Kansas City, MO; 2001-2007
President, Royals Sports Television Network, LLC
& Senior Vice President, Business Operations
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL; New York, NY and St. Louis, MO; 1997-2001
Senior Vice President, Club Relations (1999-2001)
Vice President of Team Services (1997-1999)
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS; St. Louis, MO; 1987-1996
Vice President Business Operations (1990-1996)
Vice President, Finance & Administration (1987-1990)
Director, Business Administration (1987)
CIVIC CENTER/BUSCH STADIUM, St. Louis, MO; 1985-1986
Manager of Planning (1985-1986)
Assistant to the President (1985)